herald

Sunday 22 October 2017

Rats, cockroaches and missing wall tiles see 10 food outlets shut down

The Spar at 23 Upper Baggot Street, Dublin, shut for one day
The Spar at 23 Upper Baggot Street, Dublin, shut for one day

Infestations by rats and cockroaches are among the reasons 10 food businesses were ordered to shut last month, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has revealed.

For the first time, it has also released copies of the Health Service Executive environmental officer inspector reports that led to the closures.

Among the orders to shut down premises were two that lasted for just one day.

The Spar shop at 23 Upper Baggot Street, Dublin, was issued with a closure order on September 27, but it was lifted the following day.

"A grave and immediate danger to food supply exists in this food business due to the significant rodent infestation," the report stated.

"Rats can transmit dangerous pathogens through their droppings and urine," the inspector said.

"A significant number of rat droppings found in the basement and some droppings found on the shop floor. Pest proofing issues exist throughout the premises.

"Risk of contamination of food products exist."

Chen's Oriental Taste, in Rochfortbridge, Co Westmeath, also had its closure order lifted after a day, having been served with a notice on September 28 with a list of issues.

The problems included boxes of raw chicken stored on the dirty floor of the lobby adjacent to tools and cleaning chemicals, posing a risk of contamination of the food.

The report also identified a leaking ceiling in the kitchen area and missing wall tiles.

Dr Bernard Hegarty, director of enforcement policy at the FSAI, said a closure order often focuses the minds of business owners, so they work swiftly to address the problems.

He said inspectors visit each site before an order is lifted and that, in certain cases, not every issue identified on a report must be fixed before the premises is deemed safe to reopen.

Dr Hegarty explained why some business can have an order lifted in just a day.

"The main thing is it focuses management attitude to the issue. They get their staff working on it right away," he said.

Insects

"The inspector might deem it's good enough to reopen. That does not always mean perfect."

The Akash Indian restaurant on George's Avenue in Blackrock, Dublin, was served with a closure order after the kitchen was found to have an infestation of insects.

"Evidence existed of an extensive infestation of cockroaches throughout the kitchen," the inspector reported.

"Live nymph and adult cockroaches found as well as cockroach egg casings."

The report noted cockroach activity behind the dishwasher and within the motor of the fridge.

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